A TV debate that went sour and pulled off the air.
NTV is one of the better TV channels in Turkey which has an excellent coverage of news and also several interesting programs. One of these was the “Different Interpretations – Yorum Farki”, hosted by one of the best intellectuals and Cumhuriyet newspaper columnists, Emre Kongar. For almost three years, Mehmet Barlas was his counterpart who presented an opposing view on the issues, sometimes agreeing but mostly opposing those of Emre Kongar, but usually in a civilized manner. When Mehmet Barlas moved recently to ATV channel to anchor the evening news, Cengiz Candar was picked as his new mate, a well known journalist and writer, who happens to be a graduate of Talas American High School and is a lot different from Mehmet Barlas. Cengiz Candar’s articles appear in the Turkish Daily News in English and Referans newspaper in Turkish.
During the May 14, Wednesday show, several current issues and the closure case for the AKP was being hotly debated. At one point, Cengiz Candar commented that Cumhuriyet newspaper was supportive of coup d’etats, which angered Emre Kongar, prompting him to ask Cengiz Candar if he was not ashamed of making such accusations. Cengiz Candar shut back by telling Emre Kongar that he should be more polite and that he forbids him making such ill-mannered statements. When Emre Kongar accused Cengiz Candar for de-faming people not present, Cengiz Candar asked Emre Kongar to bring any information that he has about him. This went on for a while and Emre Kongar closed the program for the eveining. Since then, NTV has put a sports program for the 20:00 PM slot and put an end to this lively discussion program.
We will certainly miss this program since many times I would listen to the program while stuck in the traffic driving from Esenyurt to Kozyatagi on TEM and going over the Fatih Bridge . I hope NTV will bring this lively show back after a cooling off period, as this kind of programs are needed on Turkish TV channels.
Yuksel Oktay , PE
Istanbul , May 22, 2008